Bryan Wynter

BRYAN WYNTER  British, 1915-1975

Bryan Wynter was a landscape painter and part of the St Ives group. Born in London, Bryan Wynter was sent to Zurich to study in the hopes he would join the family business. However, in 1938 he rebelled and decided to go to art school. His decision – bitterly opposed by his father – was partly inspired by the 1936 Surrealist show he saw in London. On his return to London, he attended at Westminster School of Art and continued at the Slade School of Fine Art.

In 1945 Bryan Wynter settled in Cornwall in Zennor, near St Ives. He first painted Cornish subjects on a small scale in gouache and watercolour; the scale dictated by the restrictions of living in a small cottage. The subject matter was recognisably Cornish - gulls and fishing boats and the harsh, bare landscape.

Despite the difficulties of pursuing his art during the war, Bryan Wynter had already started to make a reputation. His work was profiled in the journal Counterpoint, which also featured Paul Nash and Eileen Agar. Bryan Wynter was supposedly the face of a new generation that was going to develop Surrealism into something more humane and mature. This led to the offer of a show at the Redfern Gallery in London in 1947. Bryan Wynter exhibited with the London Group from 1954.

Bryan Wynter was a British artist who didn’t simply adopt Surrealist motifs but systematically employed automatist practices. In that respect, other artists around St Ives had little to teach him. He was influenced by Lanyon for a limited time – around 1952–1954, when they were both teachings at Bath Academy, Corsham, between 1949 19and56 – but after that their paths diverge again.

At first, Bryan Wynter worked figuratively, but by 1956 he had evolved a dynamic and more abstract style. He had taken part in experiments with mescaline, which had an effect on his work as it became progressively more abstract. Bryan Wynter had evolved a non-figurative system using a much larger format, which he retained and developed during the remainder of his career.

In 1962 Bryan Wynter suffered a heart attack. Following his illness he experimented for a time with kinetic art, making Kinetic constructions that he called IMOOS (Images Moving Out Onto Space) before returning to painting in the last decade of his life.

In 2001 Bryan Wynter was the subject of an exhibition Bryan Wynter: A Selected Retrospective at Tate St Ives, Cornwall.  

Public collections include:
Arts Council of Great Britain
British Council, London
Glasgow Museums
Government Art Collection
Leeds City Art Gallery
National Galleries of Scotland
Southampton City Art Gallery
Tate, London
York City Art Gallery